The GOP is convinced that the Affordable Care Act will remain a winning political issue for them. On Meet the Press Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said be the “biggest issue” in the next congressional election. From Meet the Press:
SEN. MCCONNELL: You know, I don’t know what the issues will be next year. If I were predicting what’s likely to be the biggest issue in the 2014 election, I think it would be Obamacare. I think it’s coming back big time. And by the way, the IRS has a role to play in the implementation of Obamacare, which is another reason why if we had the opportunity to do it, we ought to pull it out root and branch, the single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed in modern times in this country. And the American people are beginning to learn as their premiums go up, as jobs are lost, the full effect of this on our slow growth economy has been enormous. I– I think that’s likely, frankly, David, to be the biggest issue next– in 2014 and maybe others.
This answer comes right after the House Republicans decided to dedicate a day staging another repeal vote just to get every new member on record. Republicans are convinced that campaigning against the ACA will help them replicate their success in 2010. Republicans have gone all in on this political bet.
For this strategy to work the implementation of the law needs to go very badly, which gives Republicans at all levels a strong incentive to derail it. In some states where the Republican governors have endorsed the idea the rank and file Republican state legislatures have worked to kill it, which partially explains why Medicaid expansion has gone so poorly.